The Education Innovation Summit 2019 took place on Wednesday, 29 May at the Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg and saw captivating discussions around emerging technologies in the education sector. The summit, happening for the 4th year explored current and emerging trends while providing solutions to challenges within the education industry in Africa.
During his keynote address, CEO of Fundi, Tshepo Ditshego unpacked codifying the enablement of student success. “Our purpose at Fundi is to enable our clients’ dreams, what success looks like to us is when someone is able to do their dream job,” he said.
“Fundi’s own experience of the tertiary education space is significant in the context of defining and enabling “success,” continued Ditshego.
He further revealed that Fundi sees technology as neither a competitor nor a replacement. “We see technology as complementary; an additional channel, resource, alternative towards success as the end objective. It must be approached in the spirit of experimentation and opportunity, with users consulted and partnered with throughout the journey,” he said.
According to Ditshego, the current status quo of education in South Africa is in a critical stage. South Africa was placed 139 out of 143 countries in a benchmarking survey ranking the overall quality of the education system.
“We know that of every 100 students only 36 are able to pass matric and only 14 are able to qualify for university. 80 per cent of children in grade 4 cannot read for meaning. The global average is 4 per cent. Half of South Africa’s schools don’t have libraries,” revealed Ditshego.
Under the theme, Reshaping Education for a Tech-driven Economy, speakers delved into what can be achieved through enabling technology in the education sector.
It was clear from the presentations that collaborations are imperative for the growth of the economy and bridging the inequality gap. Educational institutions need to collectively engage in helping the workforce of tomorrow prepare for disruptive technologies.
“Encouraging collaboration with the private sector is vital,” stated Dr Thembinkosi Twalo, Manager: Skills Development Research and Partnership at Moses Kotane Institute. “We need to engage on co-creation of collaboration and establish the power dynamics around collaboration,” he said.
“What we need to consider is that when we talking about collaboration we are not talking about robots, it is human beings who engage in collaboration and we vary in terms of interests and values. The issue of power needs to be taken into consideration when collaborating. Some things are determined by how much power one has and unfortunately with some collaboration relationships some partners have big brother mentalities,” said Dr Twalo.
Role of tech in enabling teaching and learning
Ulysee Baguida, CEO of U’Hope Company, Belgium said technology can enable better and efficient learning. He said, “Africa has everything it needs to become the best continent but it lacks in knowledge. The D@niel platform assists in that instance. With our software, we want to make learning better and accessible.”
During his presentation, Baguida addressed looking at the important role technology plays in advancing the availability of higher education to underrepresented student populations.
He said that D@niel software makes education reach people in remote areas and is touch people all over the world.
The key message was how organisations and stakeholders can collectively deliver information in creative ways and bridge the inequality gap.
Other speakers at the event include:
Mmabatho Maboya, CEO, Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation
Professor Kobus Visser PhD, Emeritus Professor, University of Western Cape
Dr Corrin Varady, CEO, Ideaonline
Professor Osden Jokonya, HOD: Information Systems, University of Western Cape
Professor Alwyn Louw, President & Academic President, IIE MSA
Wynand Espach, Chief Operating Officer, AgriColleges